NCDOT considering 'wrong side' of road project for I-40 interchange

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) The North Carolina Department of Transportation thinks driving on the wrong side of the street could improve the ride for commuters in Wake County.

The plan one of two options the department is considering for a more than $33 million project to the interchange at Airport Boulevard and I-40.

Dana Height takes Airport Blvd to work in Morrisville and says what should be a 20-minute ride takes close to 45 minutes because of congestion.

"Morrisville is growing so they have even more traffic going back and forth," he said.

Height is happy to hear the DOT wants to ease that congestion, with one of two new traffic patterns.

One is called a "Partial Cloverleaf," which is more traditional, and similar to what already exists.

The second option is called a "Diverging Diamond Interchange." As part of the pattern, the lanes crisscross at the traffic signal onto the left side on the road.

"That sounds very confusing," said Height.

DOT Project manager Bob Veaton says on paper it is, mainly because drivers will use the "wrong side" of the road. However, he adds it's safe and keeps traffic flowing.

"There's less red light time. It's quicker and easier to get to onto the interchange from the interstate and back onto the interchange," said Veaton.

Diverging Diamond Interchanges (DDI) have been installed in other parts of the state, and around the country.

The pattern is so popular with DOT engineers that they are considering putting it in in two other areas in the Triangle -- I-40 and Highway 42 in Johnston County, and Western Boulevard and I-440.

"That stretch of the beltline is the oldest original part of the beltline that hasn't been improved yet," said Veaton.

For the Airport Boulevard project, Veaton says the DOT is weighing the right of way impact of both options, and how each would impact the existing flow of traffic during construction.

Veaton says part of the reason DOT likes the DDI is because drivers can contune to use the exsisting bridge while construction is going on.

"It allows us to build bridges on both sides of the existing bridge and then take that one out of service once we're done," said Veaton.

Morrisville's mayor says he's leaning toward DDI because the "Partial Cloverleaf" requires the DOT to purchase land from businesses on the airport side of I-40.

Veaton says the DDI and the "Partial Cloverleaf" would ease congestion, and keep traffic moving.

Veaton says the DOT wants to hear from the public before making a final decision in a few weeks.

Residents have until Feb. 14 to submit their comments to or call (919) 707-6017.


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